Samantha Rose, Copywriter: "I hope that everyone is lucky enough to work with those who encourage their growth and value their input."
When I first learned about OppLoans, I had recently moved from New York to Chicago. I worked in marketing and publicity in traditional print publishing. It was an industry that I felt lacked innovation and the corporate environment that I was in was dog-eat-dog. It’s an understatement to say that I was disheartened. Then I read online reviews about how OppLoans was one of the fastest growing companies disrupting the fintech industry. More impressively, the reviews reiterated how happy the employees were. That was just the kind of company I wanted to work for.
From the very first day, I was struck by the positive environment. The enthusiasm and buzz around the office was palpable; everyone was excited about growth. To illustrate, I was one of a handful of new hires in the welcome lunch. The presenters made a point about how we were not just new team members, but part of the OppLoans family. To see that everyone had a friendly, “we’re-all-in-this-together” attitude, left a lasting impression on me.
I primarily work in the content team on OppU, the financial education branch of OppLoans. OppU is still fairly new, so our team of two works hard setting the foundation to become a financial literacy, or “finlit”, authority within the space. My day-to-day is always changing, but my work centers around simplifying the somewhat complex concepts of personal finance in order to educate others. Our blog covers topics ranging from the latest legislation to groundbreaking research–and it’s my job to keep abreast of it all.
My role also calls for fostering relationships with financial literacy educators. For instance, as part of a multi-state series, I interviewed several finlit heads, including those involved with Jump$tart, Junior Achievement, state boards of education, and credit unions. Collaborating with industry experts about how they are achieving greater financial literacy proves that the work we’re doing impacts real change on a macro and micro level.
A lesser-known function of OppU is overseeing the OppU Achievers Scholarship, which is an award of $2,500 given out to students who create opportunity for themselves and others. One high school senior was published in a national newspaper for a piece on educational inequity. Another, a college senior, was studying medicine in hopes of applying her degree to better healthcare outcomes for Gambian women back at home. I speak with these incredible students, turn their story into a profile published alongside their winning essay, and dedicate our scholarship to their educational pursuits. It’s by far my favorite part of the job.
Regarding OppU, our success all comes down to the collaborative relationship I have with my manager. We have a standing weekly appointment to brainstorm about new initiatives. No matter how impossible, nothing is off the table. It’s the best feeling to have an “aha” moment and build off the others’ enthusiasm in these creative sessions. It’s an even better feeling having my ideas implemented and watching them come to life as a published blog, original research piece, or financial aid asset. I hope that everyone is lucky enough to work with those who encourage their growth and value their input.
Looking towards the future, I want to build financial education content for my coworkers. One such initiative is to provide a company-wide financial literacy lending library. I’d also love to bring in some of the financial experts we’ve built relationships with to host lunch and learns. For our team, there’s an endless number of endeavors we hope to tackle and we’re just getting started.
Now when people ask what I do, I can’t wait to tell them about the ins and outs of personal finance—and yes, you should be saving for retirement, if you aren’t already! I’m proud to be at a company that is conscientious about helpful information and care to customers who deserve our empathy and respect. I try to carry that same level of care over to the underserved, underbanked, and underemployed we serve through OppU.